About us Meet the team Our Vice Presidents Our Vice Presidents are people who have supported POhWER for many, many years. Read about these very special supporters. Aruna Patel Aruna benefited personally from POhWER’s services in 2000 after being discharged from hospital. Her experience working with her advocate, inspired her to join the charity to continue to help and support others; in 2008 she became a trustee for the organisation. Aruna is deeply involved in charity work as a trustee of Watford Indian Association. As a carer herself, looking after her mother and as a patient, she is able to relate to the Asian community and provide a vital voice for the vulnerable. Having seen the impact and benefit POhWER can have on people’s quality of life herself, she wants to continue to work with POhWER staff to deliver the charity’s next steps. Carol Lee MBE Carol was a Trustee of POhWER since 1999. She retired at the AGM in December 2013. The work that Carol has done with POhWER and will continue to do as one of our Vice Presidents is invaluable. Her aim is to make sure the voice of people with learning disabilities continues to be listened to and heard. In 2002 Carol was awarded the MBE for her work with the Government on the Valuing People White Paper. Gary Blaker QC Gary is a barrister specialising in property and chancery disputes. He was appointed a QC in 2015. Having been involved in advocacy projects in Hertfordshire since 1992, Gary became a founder trustee of POhWER in 1996. He remained a trustee until 2012 and on retiring from the board was made a Vice-President. He feels strongly about advocacy and ensuring that all people are able to have their voice heard. Gary is delighted to have witnessed the growth of the charity from small local beginnings to now a strong national presence. Gary is married, has a young daughter and lives in north London. He is particularly interested in using his role as a Vice-President to raise POhWER’s profile even further. Iris Lusack Iris was one of the founder members of POhWER and has been involved in advocacy for many years. Iris was one of the first people to become an Honorary Vice-President. Judith Smart Judith is a founder Vice-President of POhWER and was Company Secretary up until 2011. Judith also works for Herts PASS. Judith lived in a residential setting and experienced the isolation and fear of being afraid to speak up for oneself and looks forward to the day when every disabled person is treated with dignity and respect. As she points out we are all members of one society. Besides sitting on her soapbox, Judith enjoys socialising, travel, listening to classical music (being of a certain age), drawing, and writing. Her hope for the future is that we can live in an inclusive society, and believes we are getting there gradually! Judith became a Founder Vice-President in 2011. Phil Lawrence Phil is very active in promoting advocacy. As well as his involvement with POhWER he was also a founding member and volunteer with Headway Hertfordshire. During his time as a Trustee of POhWER, he has helped to establish its generic service, now known as community advocacy. Phil was delighted to be made an Honorary Vice-President in 2012. Steven Rathbone Steven is a founder member of POhWER and was a membership secretary for the charity up until his retirement in 2011 when he became one of the first honorary Vice-Presidents. Steven has been involved in advocacy since 1993 and has spent a lot of time visiting other projects around the Country taking part in presentations and promoting advocacy and self-advocacy. In 2008 Steven was in a film starring Derek Jacobi and attended Cannes Film Festival where it was shown. Steven collects key rings and baseball caps.